The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
I was originally planning on writing a self-development post, but recent events forced me to change this week’s topic. This is something that I refuse to remain silent about – this is something that we cannot remain silent about.
America is a place that many of us have revered. The world looks at the United States of America and often sees prosperity, opportunity and excess. We envision ourselves in New York, LA, Miami… but this American Dream is slowly fading.
Don’t misinterpret what I am referring to – it’s not just Trump’s Brave New World that is tearing social structure apart. For many months now, even years, we have continued to witness the division of our global community. From European antagonism towards refugees, to the persistent violence of America’s police force; social unity doesn’t appear to be making a miraculous step in the right direction.
Friday January 20th 2017: The Inauguration of President Donald Trump (or the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion” as Trump called it).
Here are 10 things that have happened since Trump became the new leader of the so-called “Free World”:
Source: The Independent, CBC News, CNN News and The Guardian
- The dismantling of Obamacare with the long-term goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act
- The US withdrawal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal
- The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture have been banned from talking to the press
- The advancement of the construction of the Dakota Access and XL Keystone pipelines
- The mandating of the construction of the infamous Wall along the US-Mexico border
- Trump’s administration has been ordered to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants
- The revoking of federal grant money from “sanctuary cities” that do not deport undocumented immigrants
- The use of federal funds for international NGOs that advocate or perform abortions has been barred
- 7 Muslim-majority countries have been banned from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days
- Syrian refugees have been banned from entering the country (indefinitely)
So America, are you feeling great again yet?
To be completely honest with you, I never imagined that all of this would happen. Even when he was elected (which I’m still shocked about), I thought “he’ll need to pass his insane ideas through Congress, right?” – I was wrong. I didn’t foresee all of this.
I am Pakistani and born in the UK. I am Muslim. Even with all of the post-9/11 Islamophobia and xenophobia, I never imagined that a day would come where over 218 million people (World Bank) would be banned from entering a country based on their place of birth and religion.
Today, millions of Americans believe that banning guns won’t reduce the threat to their society but banning Muslims will. Today, we live in a time where an 18 month old child was detained at an airport. Today, Sir Mo Farah himself is unsure if he can enter the US (where he has lived for the past 6 years) because of his Somali background.
One year ago, would any of you have predicted this? Personally, I’m still struggling to believe the reality of these events.
And you know what makes it even worse? The fact that Theresa May, our Prime Minster and our supposed leader, couldn’t even pluck up the courage to show some disapproval towards these acts of racial injustice. To be frank, I’m ashamed – I thought Britain had a position of strong political influence. Her response was far too late and far too insignificant.
She refused to comment – she actually remained silent and stood by as an MP from her very own party is no longer allowed entry into the US. Let that sink in. Then again, what can I expect of someone who should act as a role model for young British women but walks hand-in-hand with a man who has no respect for women’s rights?
Maybe I played myself in blindly having misplaced hope.
After all of this, I’m not feeling very optimistic. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you weren’t either. But here’s where I’m wrong – there is a silver lining. There actually is some hope. There is a light at the end of this very dark, gloomy tunnel.
Since Trump began his presidential campaign, social division has become increasingly prominent. But in spite of this, I have never seen such public collaboration amongst people of different races, religions and economic backgrounds. People from all walks of life have come together opposing this far-right ideology. In a time of such extremity and tension, we are witnessing a movement of unity.
Just as Anne Frank once said, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart”.
So this is what I’m going to ask of you: Don’t stand by in silence.
Voice your opinions, create discussion, raise awareness, educate yourself, educate others of the facts and never sacrifice your integrity.
I truly believe that we can collectively generate positive change.
Please note that all views are entirely my own and do not represent the statements and/or opinions of other individuals, groups or organisations. The purpose of this blog is to merely encourage discussion, inform readers and create awareness on issues which I believe are of importance to readers.